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Q & A with a Registered Dietitian!
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Q & A with a Registered Dietitian!

March 14, 2018

Emily is a Registered Dietitian who works throughout HPHA. Emily has worked at HPHA since 2016. During her first year she worked with the Huron Perth Diabetes Education Team.

What made you enter your field of work?

I had an interest in working with food and in working in healthcare. I knew I wanted to help people but I don't have the stomach for nursing! My grandma is a Nurse and when I was little she used to have a subscription to a nutrition newsletter that I was always a huge fan of. I think that newsletter sparked my future career!

What do you love most about your role?

I really enjoy interacting with my patients and making a difference in their care. I also like the team environment with my fellow Dietitians and other members of the healthcare team.

What do you find challenging about your role?

It can be disappointing when patients are not ready to make a change with advice or nutrition support offered.

Describe a typical day.

The beginning of my day is pretty administrative - checking referrals and messages regarding patient progress. As nutrition plays such a vital role to overall health and healing, a Dietitian referral is included on a number of order sets, for example Pressure Injury Management & Prevention and Stroke. I review patient charts which I have referrals for and then I visit with the patients and families and liaise with members of the healthcare team. I also attend patient rounds and appropriate family meetings.

In Stratford one of the primary areas I work in is the Integrated Stroke Unit. My interactions with these patients may include education, especially around heart healthy eating, or if the patient can't swallow we may be providing recommendations for enteral feeds (tube feeding).

After visiting with patients I complete charting. Ongoing communication with the patients, families and our team is necessary to meet nutrition goals and ensure timely discharges.

Tell us about your most gratifying experience at HPHA?

It is always gratifying when a patient tells you you've made a difference in their care journey. In terms of a gratifying project, when I worked in Diabetes Education I played a big role in organizing and implementing the annual Diabetes Day. That was one of the bigger projects I've worked on and it was gratifying seeing the event through and educating the patients and families who were in attendance.

What's one thing people would be surprised to learn about your role?

As a Dietitian I am not the “food police”. I think sometimes patients are afraid to talk about their diets. I'm not here to scold. I'm here to help and give solutions.

Speaking of food, what's your favourite healthy food and on the flip-side, your favourite junk food?

My favourite healthy food at the moment is homemade veggie burgers made with Portobello mushrooms and black beans - click here for the recipe!  I also love a good homemade soup, like this Broccoli Green Curry Coconut Soup. My favourite junk food is poutine!

Did you know that March 14 is Dietitians' Day and that the month of March is also Nutrition Month?  Learn more at the Dietitians of Canada website!